Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Bright star
I had so looked forward to this widely acclaimed movie, written and directed by New Zealander Jane Campion, whose movie, The Piano, so enthralled me.
But sadly, I was disappointed.
It's gorgeous to look at at times. And for fans of textiles there's a lot to swoon over. Gustavian interiors, too.
But that's all.
The dialogue alternates between wafty and dense, the story is unconvincingly told, the whole is tedious.
This is not to detract from Abbie Cornish, who plays Fanny Brawne so luminously, and now I long to see her in something she can really get hold of and breathe life into. This had very little to offer her.
The story is about the three years when the young, pennilesss Romantic poet, John Keats, and Fanny live in Hamsptead.
They meet. They fall in love.
But, in this film, it's without heat, passion, lust, or, in fact, any conceivable reason.
Their relationship seems totally devoid of chemistry, perhaps because Ben Whishaw as Keats is such an unappealing wuss with his annoying secondary-modern accent. When he starts sprouting poetry, it's just ridiculous!
And how exactly does he achieve that constant five-o-clock shadow? Think about it! It's not possible.
The relationship between Fanny and Keats's best friend, Brown, with whom he lives, is far more interesting because at least it is based on mutual dislike and irritation.
If Brown hadn't said to Keats in the film: "By Jove, Keats old boy! You've jolly well started writing quite well in the past few weeks!", you'd never know Fanny had inspired some of Keats's most famous works.
And honestly, one more brooding, lingering shot from the ground through out-of-focus flowers, or through wobbly old glass windows, or in doorways, and I've have screamed.
We have been spoilt by Jane Austen done well, as my husband said to me on our way home from the film.
We are accustomed to lavish period pieces in which the drama and the dialogue match the sumptuous costumes and scenery.
This one doesn't pull that off.
Two and a half out of five from me, I'm afraid.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Day, with good friends and loved ones, plenty to eat, lots of laughs and a thoroughly great time.
Thanks for coming by through the year, and for all the comments and bloggy fun.

(I just went to stuff the turkey and roast it all ready for tomorrow. The bastard — bought ready to bang in the oven — is frozen inside. Sigh ... )

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Almost there
After three years in storage without us, the old Christmas tree was retrieved from the garage on Thursday. It spends its non-Christmas days wrapped tightly in an old tablecloth, bound in gaffer tape.
In my book, if you can't have the real, proper Christmas tree species — preferably a Norwegian spruce, or any of the beautiful conifers we could get in the US — then I'm going artificial.
I bought this pretend tree 27 years ago, and they do not make trees of this calibre any more. Even my best friend Dace, who is strictly a Must-Be-A-Real-Christmas-Tree girl, was full of admiration and had to ask if it was real or not.
Anyway. I got the tree into the living room, set it up in its stand, and then realised a lot of the branches had broken off, leaving it very gappy and sad-looking.
But two hours with metres of black cloth tape, pliers and the hot-glue gun soon fixed that.
Don't you love Christmas?

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Buying books for Christmas?
Then take a look at my brilliant young friend Isme's blog, The Book Slooth.
She's a ravenous reader with broad literary taste, so if you have youngsters to buy books for, and teenagers, you'll find some great ideas there.
Will, Lily and I spent the past few days at Albany, making a Christmassy visit to all my family down there.
Sunday was hot and sunny, so we headed for Gull Rock (above). The metal hulk in the water is the remains of an old ship's boiler — if you click on it, you'll see Will and Lily.
And that's Albany you can see in the background. Beautiful. That pic is looking almost directly south — the next landfall way over that distant line of hills is Antarctica.
I stayed with Mum and Dad while the kids stayed with my brother, who now owns our parents' old house — and with it its beautiful, rambling garden that Mum created out of the sand, with years of hard work and hundreds of trailer-loads of very good soil.
There are dozens of mature rose bushes, many of them David Austins.
All of them are perfumed.
Can you smell this philadelphus (mock orange)?
There's even a pond full of frogs — Will scored this great shot.
Back in Perth now to await the arrival of Nick's parents from Seattle ... and Christmas, of course.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Up to my eyes ...
... in Our Lady of the Immaculate Kitchen (and loving every irreverent minute).

Monday, 7 December 2009

R-e-l-a-x-e-d ...
We've just had four and a bit days here, on the bay down south.
Could not wipe the smile off my face as we walked along the beach. Perfect preparation for the busy few weeks ahead.
We had good mates with us and played a lot of cards, drank some lovely wine and ate lots of yummy stuff. Oh — and we spent a few hours whipper-snipping the bush-block to comply with the bushfire regulations.
We also took a few pics of me sewing, for Lisa's Extreme Sewing competition.
It was a gorgeous afternoon until the wind picked up the sheet I was "sewing" and I thought I'd lose the sewing machine in the water!
Summer by the bay.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Best-laid plans
Here's a pic of beautiful, beautiful City Beach last Saturday.
Will and Jesse have spent many mornings there, and Will is very proud to show off our superb white sand and clean blue water to his mate from San Diego.
Perth people rave about Cottesloe, but frankly, it sucks compared to City and Floreat!
:: I'd set aside yesterday and today for Christmas shopping.
But Lily has asked us to cast a critical eye over her thesis before she sends it off to college this week, so we shelved the shopping plan (not unhappily).
I have orders now for seven aprons to make for Christmas gifts, and I'd set aside Sunday to make them all. I started early and had them all cut out and ready to go, but as I was sewing number one, my sewing machine, the trusted and beloved Bernina workhorse, started acting a little weirdly (nothing major, just a big loop on the underside every 10 or 12 stitches), so I now have a table full of apron parts.
Oh well! I'm keeping calm and carrying on.